New York Giants: What To Expect From The Backup Running Backs?

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants are a struggling and rebuilding team that lacks star talent. Except for the running back position. The Giants have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Saquon Barkley. Some may argue that he is the best running back in the NFL. But last season, Barkley was injured and sidelined for three games.

The Giants struggled to run the ball without Barkley in the lineup. They even struggled to run the ball upon his return to the lineup. Barkley returned extraordinarily fast from his high ankle sprain and played through the “nagging” ankle injury the rest of the season.

If Saquon Barkley were to go down again, are the Giants prepared? Even if he is healthy, is there a competent backup running back on this roster to play in relief of a fatigued Saquon Barkley?

Be sure to check out this video below for a better understanding of why Saquon Barkley struggled in 2019:

Dion Lewis

This offseason, the Giants signed former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis as a backup running back. Dion Lewis had his best season in 2017 with the Patriots, rushing for 896 yards and receiving for 214 yards to go along with 9 total touchdowns. Lewis has been a reliable receiver out of the backfield throughout his career and was a fine complement to Derrick Henry’s hard-nosed running style in Tennessee.

Lewis is the oldest running back on the roster and likely the best in pass protection. Barkley has struggled in that department through his first two professional seasons. Dion Lewis could help improve the Giants’ pass protection in 2020.

New York Giants: Why Dion Lewis is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants’ front office made big moves this offseason to improve both the offense and defense. During free agency, the Giants’ signed veteran running back, Dion Lewis to a one year deal which is worth 1.5 million. The Giants needed a running back who is reliable and can give Saquon Barkley well-deserved rest. Luckily, the Giants found the perfect guy, no disrespect to Wayne Gallman, but he is just not the answer.

Wayne Gallman’s 2019 stats

In 2019, Wayne Gallman started in two games after Saquon went down with a high ankle sprain. Throughout the season, there was not much to cheer about, Gallman had 110 rushing yard and only two touchdowns. Even when Barkley was healthy, Gallman would only average 11 rushing yards a game. As you can see, Gallman was never a go-to option like Saquon is, Daniel Jones had to rely on throwing the ball often. This was no easy task for Jones, Saquon was out for three weeks after his first start and Gallman never was. Overall, Gallman had one standout game in the absence of Barkley. In my mind, Gallman is a backup NFL running back. He’s better off on another team that needs a backup because Dion Lewis is going to take all his touches.

Dion Lewis’ 2019 stats

Dion Lewis played a much smaller role in 2019, he was backing up star running back, Derrick Henry in Tennessee. In 2019, Dion lewis only started in one game and ran the ball 54 times for 209 yards. This is not the Dion Lewis most people are used to seeing, but he still is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman for multiple reasons.

Effective in the passing game

Back in New England, Dion Lewis was used in the short passing game. A lot of screen passes were used along with some out routes that fit lewis’ playstyle well. I can see Dion Lewis helping the Giants with his versatility, I see Jason Garrett calling a lot of screen passes, and bubble screens. With an upgraded offensive line, the Giants offense will have more time to set up screen passes and routes designed for Lewis. This signing of Lewis was huge, the Giants haven’t had a solid running back duo since Jacobs and Bradshaw.

Will give Barkley well needed rest

All Giants’ fans know that Saquon is the star running back, but it will be nice having Lewis as a backup. A guy who is effective in both ground and passing game will allow Saquon to be at his best late in games. Last season, Barkley played on every offensive down basically. If the Giants want him to last seven-plus years, they need to start protecting him. Finally, Dion Lewis will be a huge factor for the Giants in 2020.

Giants’ Wayne Gallman has been relegated to third string

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants’ running game is thought by many to be dead on arrival this year. The injury to star back Saquon Barkley has slowed them somewhat but the numbers aren’t too much off from last year when Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards. The Giants are currently ranked 26th in the NFL, averaging 93.8 yards per game. That’s quite a bit lower than they were last season when they were 24th and averaging 103.1 yards per but it seems like it should be more.

The backfield has taken on a new dynamic this season. Barkley missed three games with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t been able to crack the century mark since retuning to the lineup in Week 7.

His primary backup, Wayne Gallman, has been eclipsed on the depth chart by Javorius “Buck” Allen, who the Giants signed as a free agent in mid-October. Last week, Gallman was a healthy scratch against the Eagles.

“I know it’s a very tough situation for him I’m sure,” Giants running back coach Craig Johnson told reporters about Gallman on Friday. “As I told him, and I tell all my guys in my room, you’ll cheer for your teammate. I know that’s hard for him to do but we’re giving him a look, you just have to be ready to play. Any time you are not a starter you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically like you are a starter. When your opportunity comes get ready to play. You have to battle through that adversity.”

Allen, meanwhile, only touched the football once on Monday night in Philadelphia for a gain of four yards. Johnson explained why he jumped Gallman on the depth chart.

“He’s really done a good job on the practice field. I think he’s shown some good physical running, he’s very good in pass protection and he’s caught the ball well. Since he’s shown so much, we just want to give him a look, give him an opportunity to get out there and play and see what he can do. He’s done well with what he’s had so far. Obviously, the more chances he gets to touch the ball, he’ll get even more comfortable.”

So, what does Gallman have to do to get his spot back?

“I don’t know if he necessarily needs to do anything better,” said Johnson. ” I just think it’s more of Buck has been on our roster for a long time, he’s done a lot of good things and we are rewarding him with some playing time.”


New York Giants news, 10/19 – Sterling Shepard’s return imminent, Saquon Barkley unleashed

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

While New York Giants’ top wide receiver Sterling Shepard will miss Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, his recovery is going far better than most anticipated initially. After suffering his second concussion of the season against the Minnesota Vikings in week five, Shepard was forced to miss last Thursday’s gamer against the New England Patriots.

Some believed that Shep could miss several months, as numerous concussions in a season can be detrimental to one’s health. The pass-catcher has been sporting yellow non-contact jersey during individual drills in practice, but his designation against the Cardinals is “out.”

However, there’s hope that he will return against the Detroit Lions next week, but that’s still uncertain.

In the absence of Shepard, Golden Tate and Evan Engram will see increased roles. Engram is returning after missing last week due to a sprain MCL. Having the tight end available will be a massive boost for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, considering how successful they had been together before the injury.

Engram is a massive part of the offense and has been a focal point so far this season. Racking up 373 yards and two scores over five games, he’s on pace for 1,119 yards (includes missed game) and six scores. He would not only be the Giants’ best receiver if those numbers come to fruition, but he’d be an established option for Jones moving forward. In just his third season, the Giants still have control over him for two more seasons, which is a very positive fact.

Saquon Barkley making a return:

Saquon Barkley will be available against Arizona on Sunday, as well as backup, Wayne Gallman. Barkley has been taking his high ankle sprain day-by-day but stated earlier in the week that it would be able to hold up in live-action. The Giants will undoubtedly take the safe route with their star running back, but at 2-4, they have no time to waste.

I anticipate the Giants fully unleashing Barkley, as playing him conservatively would not be worth activating him. If he’s ready to go, we should expect him to get close toa  full workload.


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New York Giants news, 10/10 – 3 keys to victory, injuries, Golden Tate, Jon Hilliman

New York Giants, Golden Tate

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Defeating the New England Patriots will be an intimidating task for the New York Giants and their battered squad. They will be heading into Foxborough missing several vital starters — Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman, and Ryan Connelly.

The injuries will force backup players into starting roles against the league’s top defense, which justifies a lack of optimism for the Giants going into week six. However, it will allow others to elevate their game and show they can compete at the professional level.

Here are three keys for the New York Giants against the Patriots:

1.) Jon Hilliman must have the game of his life

The trick to beating the Patriots is dominating possession, and the Giants are without their starting running back and immediate backup. Hilliman struggled mightily against the Minnesota Vikings last weekend, earning just 20-yards on nine carries. He must be more efficient this week, allowing the Giants to hold onto the ball and keep the defense off the field.

2.) Golden Tate must be a consistent target for Daniel Jones

Tate was practically non-existent against the Vikings, but that was expected given the fact that it was his first game back from suspension. He recorded 13-yards on three catches. In his second week back, rookie passer Daniel Jones needs him to step up and be a trustworthy option, especially without Barkley, Engram, and Shepard featured in the lineup.

Tate is a quality pass-catcher that can dominate, but his lack of chemistry with Jones will be a progressing factor.

3.) The pass rush must get to Tom Brady

As seen in the two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, the key is getting to Brady and forcing him to rush. The Pats utilize an up-tempo offense with quick reads and short throws, which makes getting to Brady difficult. However, stopping their run game and dominating at the line of scrimmage is an absolute necessity if the Giants have any hopes of competing in this contest.


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New York Giants get bad injury news ahead of Patriots showdown

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are preparing to face off against an intimidating New York New England patriots team on Thursday night football, but they have several injuries on both sides of the ball, which will undoubtedly hurt their chances.

Last week, there was plenty of optimism that star running back Saquon Barkley would be able to play against the patriots, but reports have stated that the Giants are not going to risk his long-term health and will rest him at least one more game. Forcing him to play on a high ankle sprain against a team that will realistically beat the Giants by a large margin, doesn’t make much sense.

Saving Barkley for the future and ensuring he’s 100% healthy when he returns should be the goal and priority. Barkley injured his ankle in the first half of the week three win against the Tampa Bay buccaneers — he left the game with a walking boot on and using his crutches to stabilize himself.

Initially, most believe that Barkley would return after the BYE in week 12 against the Chicago Bears, but his miraculous recovery spread optimism that he might even be able to play last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The New York Giants journey forward with a ton of injuries:

Barkley’s backup, Wayne Gallman, suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Vikings, and Sterling Shepard suffered the same. Shepard’s injury will keep them out for a few weeks considering this is the second concussion he has picked up the season. Also, star tight and Evan Engram has a sore knee and could miss the game on Thursday as well.

The Patriots have allowed just two touchdowns in five games, so having to venture forward without four primary playmakers will make it very difficult for the Giants to have any success.

Hopefully, linebackers Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis will return to bolster the middle of the defense, which featured David Mayo and Nate Super last week against Minnesota. The center of the defense was thrashed, and the Giants missed 12 tackles in a disappointing effort in week five.

New York Giants could take flier on veteran free agent running back

Could the New York Giants look into CJ Anderson at running back?

With the New York Giants losing to the Minnesota Vikings 28-10 on Sunday, the loss was accompanied by another injury to the running back position. Backup Wayne Gallman was knocked out due to a concussion early in the first quarter, leaving Jon Hilliman and Elijah Penny to handle the reigns in his absence.

With star back Saquon Barkley still recovering from a high ankle sprain, the Giants would be smart to dive into the free-agent pool and see if they can find a serviceable backup to Barkley, who’s expected to return next Thursday against the New England Patriots.

If Barkley is unable to go next week and Gallman is also out, Big Blue will be traveling into enemy territory with a lack of talent at an essential position.

Here is one veteran the New York Giants should consider:

Former Los Angeles Ram and Detroit Lions running back, CJ Anderson, has proved he can be a capable runner in the past. Last season, he averaged 6.0 yards per attempt with the Rams and Carolina Panthers over 67 carries. The attractive part of Anderson is his ability to act as a receiver as well, hauling in 224 receiving yards just two seasons ago in a permanent role with the Denver Broncos. He’s also a significant body you can protect the quarterback well.

The only issue with signing Anderson is his potential price tag, as the Giants have about $3 million in cap space remaining. Bringing in Anderson would likely cost the team somewhere in the 700k-$1 million range, considering his $1.5 million deal with the Lions earlier this season before being cut.

Ultimately, the Giants need support at the running back position, and Anderson is a proven player with the qualities to supplement the loss of Barkley to a degree. He might even be a better option over Gallman in the grand scheme, and the issue is primarily his lack of familiarity with the Giants offense. However, head coach Pat Shurmur is running out of options to trot out at running back.

New York Giants news, 10/8 – How long will Giants lose Sterling Shepard for?

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

On Monday, the New York Giants announced that star wide receiver Sterling Shepard suffered another concussion, this time coming against the Minnesota Vikings.

Shepherd entered concussion protocol after reporting symptoms to the team Monday morning, and some have said that he will be out for an extended period.

After a deep ball on the left sideline by Daniel Jones, a defender fell on top of Shepard’s head on a diving play, and he was shaken up immediately after the collision. With his helmet twisted sideways and his body moving motionless, there were concerns that he might have suffered another head injury, but he bounced right back up and re-entered the game.

Team neurologists sent word to bring Shepard over to the sideline for an examination, but he was allowed to go back onto the field after passing initial screenings. Having suffered his second concussion in the last month, Sterling could be out for the next two weeks, at least.

His future health is the primary concern in this scenario, and ensuring he is fully healthy is the priority. Running back Wayne Gallman also exited  Sunday’s game with a head injury and was forced out.

With the Giants preparing to face off against the New England Patriots on Thursday night, the team is without several influential players and could also be without tight end Evan Engram, who picked up a knee injury.

The timetable for Shepard’s return has not been set yet, but he will surely miss Thursday’s game against the Patriots and could easily miss the following Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. I anticipate a two-week recovery time-table makes the most sense if his concussion symptoms are not excessive.


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New York Giants: Concussion Problems Build Up Following Minnesota Loss

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants don’t just have a general injury problem this season, but rather a problem with concussions in specific. The team lost Sterling Shepard for the Washington Redskins game after the wide receiver sustained a concussion against Tampa in the game prior, and in the team’s most recent game, a loss against Minnesota, Wayne Gallman had to leave before the first half could even finish due to a concussion of his own.

It appears that wasn’t the only one picked up by a Giants player, however, as Sterling Shepard is ending up on the concussion protocol once again after showing the symptoms of one when returning to practice on Monday. It’s the second time that Shepard is being put into concussion protocol after going back into the game following a hit.

This comes right after the first game where Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate were able to play together – Tate was suspended four games before the season for a substance violation and week five was his first chance to play at the same time as Shepard, who was signed to a big extension this offseason to become the team’s main receiver.

Instead of the offense taking a big step forward, though, it produced less than it had in the past two games and Pat Shurmur’s former team was able to get the better of the Giants with strong play on the defensive side of the ball.

It remains to be seen if the Giants are going to make any roster changes due to the absences of Shepard and Gallman in the next game, against the Patriots, which the team is already a sixteen point underdog in. The team looks outmatched even with both players, so it will be intriguing to see what the Giants do to compensate for losing them both right before one of the most notable games of the season – at least, however, no one will blame the Giants if they are unable to pull off the upset.

How the New York Giants can beat the Minnesota Vikings in week 5

While the New York Giants have had relative success against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones at the helm, the Minnesota Vikings present an entirely different challenge. Concerning the Vikings, the Buccaneers own the 21st ranked defense, and the Redskins the 28th ranked defense.

Minnesota sits at number six, allowing just 312.75 yards per game, but they do allow a 72.1% completion rating to opposing quarterbacks, ranking 27th. That should give Jones an advantage considering his accuracy thus far and efficiency on third downs.

Where the New York Giants might find it difficult to succeed is when they throw the ball downfield, as the Vikings rank seventh with a 5.9 pass yards per attempt. They also rank incredibly high in rushing yards per attempt with just 3.7. The Giants will, unfortunately, be without star running back Saquon Barkley to handle the load, so they will look to Wayne Gallman to supplement his loss.

Fighting for extra yards against a tough Vikings defense will be incredibly difficult, so we should expect to see Jones throwing the ball a lot and moving the chains on short completions.

Here are three New York Giants players than need to step up:

1.) Evan Engram

There is not a single linebacker in the NFL that can cover tight end, Evan Engram. The third-year player has totaled 167 receiving yards with Jones at the helm. His yards per reception skyrocketed from approximately 9 to 15 after Eli Manning was benched.

His influence will be essential in beating the Vikings, especially in the middle of the field, and creating bad matchups for opposing linebackers. He will also be a security blanket for Jones in the passing game, and we should expect to see him featured quite often.

His blocking will be necessary as well, especially for Gallman, who will find it tough to run against a stout Vikings defensive front.

2.) Daniel Jones

Next on the list is inevitably Daniel Jones. The rookie passer has faced off against decent-to-bad defenses in his first two NFL starts, but the Vikings represent an entirely different beast. They are the number one team in spending on the defensive side of the ball and will utilize those assets to put pressure on Jones and force him to make mistakes.

Luckily, head coach Pat Shurmur is familiar with their defensive scheme. Hopefully, he can dial up some unique plays to get around their strengths. Jones must stay calm and prepared for this matchup.

We should expect to see the rookie under pressure a lot and need to utilize his legs. Ultimately, it comes down to third-down conversions, which he has been extremely advantageous with in the last two weeks. He has averaged over 50% on converting on third downs, where Manning was achieving just 21%.

3.) DeAndre Baker

DeAndre Baker is one of the highlights from the last two weeks as well, bouncing back from two terrible performances to allow just five catches and 35 yards. He completely shut down Chris Godwin, who thrashed the Los Angeles Rams defense for 173 yards and two scores only one week ago.

Baker will now have to face off against Stefon Diggs, who has publicly announced his displeasure with the Vikings team. That could cause him to feel a bit overwhelmed and underappreciated, giving Baker a mental advantage. The Giants need him to step up in this big game and lockdown his opponent as he is capable of doing.